ALBANY — The AMA Art Lovers Book Club is growing in popularity as it combines a love for art with enjoying a good book.
The next conversation will be a discussion of Oscar Wilde’s novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” at 6 p.m. on Sept. 17 at the Albany Museum of Art. The discussion will be led by Candice Godby, an advertising associate at The Albany Herald.
The book club meeting will be followed 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sept 18 with another event at the museum that is sure to be popular with book lovers — a special AMA Book Fair. Both the book club meeting and book fair are free and open to the public.
“We had about 15 people at our club meeting in July,” Annie Vanoteghem, AMA director of education and public programming, said. “That was a nice increase from our first meeting in May. We hope the momentum continues in September.”
Vanoteghem said she also is hoping for a good turnout for the all-day book fair. That event is free and open to the public, who can drop in at any time during the day to browse hundreds of books.
“We’ll have both beautiful and educational books available, perfect for your home library, classroom or personal reading list,” Vanoteghem said.
All of the books will be available for purchase. Teachers with educator ID will receive a 15% discount on purchases.
The AMA Art Lovers Book Club meets every other month to discuss a novel that is related to art, an artist or an art museum. The bimonthly schedule is designed to give participants plenty of time to read — or reread — a book before the discussion, which is informal. You do not have to attend every meeting to be a member, and members are encouraged to bring a favorite beverage or finger food to the meetings.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” was first published in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine in 1890 and is Wilde’s only novel. Despite the magazine editor removing parts he thought indecent, the story was criticized widely as violating public morality, with some reviewers saying Wilde should be prosecuted.
A longer, revised version of the Gothic novel was published in book form the following year.
The story centers on the titular character, who is presented with a portrait of himself by an artist who admires his handsomeness. The narcissistic Gray gets his wish to trade his soul for permanent youth and good looks, with the painting aging and reflecting the physical repercussions of his amoral lifestyle. Over an 18-year period, he indulges in every vice imaginable, with his increasingly grotesque portrait locked away from view.
“We’re looking forward to another good turnout and some engaging discussion,” Vanotegehm said. “The book club is free and everyone is welcome, but we do ask that those who plan to attend RSVP us by noon on Sept. 17 so we can have seating ready for everyone. You may RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (229) 439-8400.”
Future dates for AMA Art Lovers Book Club meetings are:
♦ Nov 19: “The Miniaturist” by Jessie Burton;
♦ Jan 21: “An Artist of the Floating World” by Kazuo Ishiguro; and
♦ March 17: “I, Juan de Pareja” by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino.
All club meetings begin at 6 p.m. and are conducted in the AMA’s Willson Audtorium.